Daily Archives: May 6, 2008

Puppy Vitamin Water? Puh-lease

This blog is normally about people food, but when I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal by Anjali Cordeiro about vitamin-infused water for DOGS, I had to comment.

First there was the bottled water craze. There were water sommeliers at restaurants with haute cuisine. Then bottled water manufacturers realized that if they pumped their municipal water with vitamins and electrolytes and gave it a catchy name, they could charge upwards of $4 for what is essentially tap water.

But this is just too much. Cott Corp. came out with a line of vitamin waters called FortiFido (you have to give them credit for creativity) including a peanut-butter-flavored water fortified with calcium for healthy bones. There’s also a healthy skin blend and a healthy joints blend. Another company, PetSmart, is selling vitamin tablets that can be dissolved in water for doggies. Now, when you take your handful of pills in the morning, you can reach over and give Fido and Fluffy theirs, too.

Before I go on, I have to disclose something. Yes, I do give supplements to my dog. Nicky, our faithful German Shepherd, has pretty bad arthritis. I give her a couple of tablets of glucosamine to aid her joints. And my cat Filin gets a few drops of cod liver oil packed with Omega-3s in his food so that his fur will shine.

Sigh. So I guess I’m perfect consumer for these doggie gimmicks. I’ll see you at the pet shop buying vitamin-infused water for my dog.


Posted by on May 6, 2008 in Uncategorized


Gimme me some (Truffle) honey

I stumbled upon a luscious honey the other day at Lazy Acres by the Valley Produce Company (located in Australia). The Aussies have infused their Australian red gum and clover honey with black truffles and white truffle oil. Drizzled over a cracker with a spread of blue cheese (try it with a touch of Cabrales, a cheese made in Northern Spain), it is simply heavenly. The combination of flavors — the earthy truffles, the sharp, spicy blue cheese, the sweet honey — is divine. The umami synergizes in your mouth, creating a taste that bursts with unctuous earthiness.

I know they ship around Australia, but I’m not sure if they ship elsewhere. If you don’t see it at your local gourmet store, ask that they care it. Your mouth will thank you deeply.

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Posted by on May 6, 2008 in Uncategorized


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Screw, Cork or Rubber: Corks Demystified

There’s nothing more satisfying than sitting down to a warm, copious repast and hearing the familiar “pop” as you open a bottle of wine.

But if more wineries have their way, you may soon be hearing the sound of a screw top being unfastened. Or, that familiar corky top may be replaced with a rubber one.

Why the change? For one, cork is a natural material and thus subject to nature’s inconsistencies. Some cork can taint the wine — up to 5 or 8 percent of wine is thought to have cork taint — so by eliminating this factor, you can keep the wine from spoiling. (Learn about how to detect cork-tainted wine in this post).

Plus, screw tops can prevent air– and thus oxygen — from seeping into wine. Exposure to air oxidizes the wine; that’s why wine that has been opened for days doesn’t taste quite as good. But a little, teeny bit of air is good, argue some wine experts, and that can help the wine age. So for wines that you’re going to store for years, maybe decades, a cork top is the way to go.

Finally, there’s the cost factor. Really nice corks (yes, there is a huge quality difference between cheap corks and expensive corks, which can run almost $1 each) are made from the best quality cork wood and have small holes that let as little air in as possible. Using cheaper corks can be OK, but for cheaper wines, a screw cap works much better and is much cheaper. That being said, there are pricey screw caps out there, too, and you’re starting to see them in nicer wines.

In the hottest new wine regions, screw caps are becoming de rigueur. According to this article at, nearly 90 percent of New Zealand wine comes in a screw cap. Australia’s is reaching 50 percent.
Even so, many wineries, particularly those in France, are not going to give up that cork. Their customers expect to see it and to deny them the pleasure of popping open that bottle would be absolument terrible.

Check out this great article on Appellation America about the screw cap debacle. I think the use of these tops is best summed up by Jason Haas of the Tablas Creek Winery:

“It depends on what we want the evolution of the wine to be. For an aromatic white, or for our Rosé, we like the brightness and freshness that the screw cap closure provides, and believe that the screw cap will have the additional benefit of keeping these wines (which are typically meant to be enjoyed young) tasting youthful longer.”

(photo credit: New Zealand Herald)

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Posted by on May 6, 2008 in Wine


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